Jessop Jewelers Blog

  • Tourmaline – A Rainbow of Choices

    tourmaline-20151008aTourmalines come in a wide variety of exciting colors and have one of the widest color ranges of any gem. It is one of the designated birthstones for October, the eighth anniversary gem, and the gemstone said to ensure lasting love and friendship.

    Tourmaline was first discovered in Brazil in the mid-1500’s and mistaken for emerald. It wasn’t until the 1800’s that tourmaline was finally named and recognized as a distinct mineral. Both California and Maine became world renown for tourmaline production starting in the late 1800’s. Locally, San Diego County shipped 120 tons of gem quality pink and red tourmaline to China between 1902 and 1910 because the Dowager Empress Tzu-hsi cherished the gemstone. When the collapse of the Chinese government occurred in 1912, the market for tourmaline from the United States virtually ceased.

    tourmaline-20151008bSince tourmaline can be found to exist in almost any color (including bi or multi-colored stones), many are referred to by their own jewelry trade names, such as:

    • Rubellite – intense pink, red to violet-red
    • Chrome tourmaline – rich, green hues that compete in color to emerald and tsavorite garnet
    • Paraiba – rich blue, greenish-blue or violetish-blue
    • Savannah tourmaline – bright yellows
    • Watermelon tourmaline – tri-color stone featuring green, white, and pink color bands

    The most desired colors of tourmaline are rich, intense blue, pink and green. Yet, with so many colors to choose from, most everyone can find a tourmaline color to their liking.

    View tourmaline jewelry from our Jessop's Collection

  • Opal – A Kaleidoscope of Color

    Since ancient times, opals have been associated with various powers and superstitions, some good and some bad. On the good side, Romans believed opals were a symbol of hope and purity and made one magically invisible; thus, Roman warriors were known to carry opals into battle for protection. Conversely, the bad luck superstitions of opals began in the 19th century with a female character in a Sir Walter Scott novel. The lady wore an opal in her hair and when a drop of holy water fell on it, she died! Queen Victoria (who coincidentally owned several opal mines) was somewhat successful in putting that myth to rest by giving opal jewelry as wedding gifts to all her relatives.

    Opal traditionally serves as a birthstone for October and is available in several different types. Solid opals range in base color from “black” (any dark body color) to semi-black, crystal, semi-crystal and opaque “milk” opal. In addition to the base color, opals can also exhibit color patterns, ranging from broad flashes to pinpoint “color play”.

    The most valuable base color of solid opal is black, and in all opals the more valuable ones exhibit all colors in their color play. That being said, the presence of pronounced red color is best, followed by orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. Also the intensity or brightness of the color will markedly affect the price. Opals with no color play are known as “common opal”.

    Opals are also available as “triplets”, which consist of a thin layer of opal secured between an opaque backing material and a crystal clear cap to protect the stone. This can create a brilliant play of colors. “Doublet” opal is the same as triplet but without the crystal top layer. There is also a natural mix of an opal face on ironstone rock known as “boulder opal”, which is sometimes referred to as “nature’s doublet”.

    It is interesting to note that ninety to ninety-five percent of the world’s opals come from Australia, with the main fields located in the South Australian towns of Andamooka and Coober Pedy. The main source of black opal (which is far rarer than white) is in Lightning Ridge, New South Wales, Australia. Other sources of opal include China, Brazil, the United States (California and Nevada), Mexico, and Ethiopia.

    Opals are relatively soft at 5 ½ to 6 ½ on the Mohs hardness scale and their toughness is only fair to poor. This makes them easily wearable as pendants or earrings. Customers who purchase opal rings simply need to be advised to handle and wear them with care. Opal jewelry can be cleaned with a very soft brush and mild soapy water, then rinsed with water and polished with a soft cloth. Doublets and triplets generally should not be submerged in liquids which could penetrate between the layers and cause them to separate.

    One last thing to be aware of is that opals can be re-polished if scratched. Also, there is no need to oil them or soak them in water or glycerine after they have been cut and polished. Most cracking or crazing occurs very early in an opal’s life and the weak ones can be weeded out at that time.

    Sharon S. Axelson
    Graduate Gemologist, Gemological Institute of America
    Certified Gemologist Appraiser, American Gem Society

    View opal jewelry from our Jessop’s Collection...

  • Yellow Gold – What’s Old Is New Again!

    Historically, around the world, yellow gold has always been prized in fashion. Yet during the 1990’s, white gold and platinum began to overtake yellow gold in popularity in the U.S. Today however, as the trend of ‘what’s in vogue shifts again, vintage is ‘in’ and so is yellow gold. It is making a noted comeback, especially in engagement rings.

    There are many advantages to yellow gold. It is easier to maintain than white gold, which usually requires periodically re-doing the rhodium finish to maintain its bright, white appearance. Yellow gold is also lower priced than platinum, hypoallergenic, resistant to tarnishing, and very complimentary on most skin tones.

    18K yellow gold (75% pure) will appear richer in color than 14K yellow gold (58.5% pure) and wears to a beautiful patina over time, yet both are ideal for fine jewelry. Choice usually comes down to personal preference.

    With its rich history, tradition, and association with affluence and royalty, yellow gold will continue to be a classic and timeless choice.

  • Say It With Sapphires

    Sapphires belong to the gem species corundum and although most sapphires are blue, they can occur in virtually any color except red. Essentially, if the corundum in question is considered to be more than 50% red, it is called a ruby! With a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale (second only to a diamond) and excellent toughness, sapphire is the most durable of all colored gemstones and holds up well to everyday wear. This fact was not lost on England’s royal family as sapphire was the gemstone of choice for Princess Diana’s famous (and fabulous!) engagement ring. Diana’s son William subsequently presented this same ring to his future wife Kate when he proposed.

    In ancient times, sapphire was believed to protect the wearer against capture by an enemy and also against poison. According to legend, if a poisonous snake was put into a container with a sapphire, the gemstone’s rays would kill the snake! In modern times, sapphire has come to symbolize truth, sincerity, and constancy and is recognized as the birthstone for September.

    What is the “best” color for a sapphire?

    This is truly a matter of personal preference, but sapphires are generally grouped into “trade grades” (most often related to their source) and traditionally the finest sapphires are considered to be the Kashmir stones from India. These gems exhibit a medium to medium-dark, velvety, slightly violetish blue (also described as “cornflower blue”) with a milky or “sleepy” transparency giving them a beautifully subtle look. Today, Kashmir sapphires are very hard to come by. Next on the most desirable list are Burma sapphires, which are characteristically a more “royal blue” and don’t have the haziness of Kashmir (considered desirable by connoisseurs). For those who prefer a lighter tone, Ceylon sapphires (from Sri Lanka) are slightly grayish and notable for being fairly brilliant.

    Colors of sapphires other than blue are referred to as “fancy” sapphires. These colors range from vibrant pinks to spectacular oranges (called “padparadshca” sapphires) and also include purple, yellow, and even green! These gemstones provide the best of both worlds for color and durability.

    Although unheated sapphires are available (always get certification if you are considering a purchase), heat treatment of sapphires, to bring out their color and clarity, is quite prevalent and the results are stable.

    Prices vary widely among the great range of sapphire colors and qualities, so no matter what your budget, there is a sapphire somewhere waiting just for you!

    Sharon S. Axelson
    Graduate Gemologist, Gemological Institute of America
    Certified Gemologist Appraiser, American Gem Society

    View sapphire jewelry from our Jessop’s Collection...

  • A Rosy Outlook for Rose Gold

    Since the beginning of the 21st century, rose gold has been having a comeback in popularity. As fashion trends have become more colorful and feminine, the interest, desire, and demand for rose gold has risen.

    Rose gold (also known as pink or red gold) is made from combining yellow gold with copper. The intensity of the rose color depends on the ratio of yellow gold to copper; less copper in the mix produces a softer shade of rose, while more copper deepens the rose color of the metal.

    The origin of rose gold dates back to 19th century Russia. During the Mid-Victorian era, rose gold was considered the color of romance. Then in the late 1920’s, Cartier introduced the ‘trinity band’ consisting of three interlocking gold bands in white, yellow, and rose. This reignited interest in rose gold and introduced the trend that continues today of mixing metals.

    Rose, White & Yellow Gold Diamond Band by Simon G Rose, White & Yellow Gold Diamond Band by Simon G

    So next time you are looking for that special purchase, consider romantic rose gold. It is very complimentary to all skin tones, appeals to all age groups, and is a way to have something unique and modern, yet with a vintage feel.

  • Spark Creations – New at Jessop's

    After a year of consideration, we are pleased to be selected to represent Spark Creations as an authorized retailer for this very exciting jewelry line.

    Spark Creations has been a leading creator for the most beautiful collections of precious jewelry for over forty years. Their motto is, “When it comes to color, nobody does it better!” Their One-of-a-Kind Collection features distinct and unique pieces.

    Spark Creations Ring Spark Creations Necklace

    Come by and visit our showroom to see and marvel at the stunning colored gemstone jewelry from their collections. We know you will appreciate the fine quality craftsmanship, elegant top quality gemstones, and exquisite style of Spark Creations.

    Sample of some of the stunning pieces created by Spark...

  • Peridot – Green with Envy

    Peridot is a unique and beautiful gemstone designated as the birthstone for the month of August. It is said to possess healing properties providing protection against nightmares, and magical powers which bring power, influence and a wonderful year to the wearer. What more could you want in a birthstone!

    Where is peridot found?

    Peridot has been mined for over 3,500 years, and actually was the most popular gemstone during the Baroque Era (circa 1600-1725). Today the majority of peridot is mined in Arizona, but other significant sources include China, Myanmar and Pakistan.

    Fine peridot captures the brightest and prettiest colors of summer, from lime to olive greens, and it is one of the few colored gemstones that are not routinely enhanced (treated). Peridot is also well suited for jewelry wear, with a respectable hardness of 6 ½ to 7 on the Mohs scale.
    It is best to clean peridot jewelry with warm soapy water, and always avoid any sudden temperature changes.

    See some of the pretty peridot pieces available...

  • Superfit - A Way To Make My Ring Actually Fit

    It’s summertime and the weather is humid. Do you find your rings more difficult to remove? Jessop’s offer a solution..Superfit!

    Changes in temperature and weather, arthritis, injuries, or other health issues can make wearing your rings difficult or impossible. Sizing a ring to fit over the knuckle may not work for everyone.

    Jessop’s customers with unique sizing challenges have benefited from retrofitting their ring with Superfit technology: a way to customize the shank of any ring, no matter the age or style, to a hinged design that is easily opened and closed, fits securely around the base of your finger, and is virtually undetectable. So, you can enjoy wearing that favorite ring again!

    Call or visit us today to learn more about how Superfit can help you.

  • Ruby - The Stone of Passion

    Ruby Stone

    Ruby is the red variety of the mineral species corundum; all other colors of corundum are called sapphire. Officially designated as the birthstone for July, rubies are traditionally given to celebrate the 15th and 40th anniversaries.

    In ancient times rubies were revered as the “Lord of Gems”. Their rich red color represented passion, power and majesty! Also known as the “Lover’s Stone”, rubies have often been used by Europeans in engagement rings. With a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale (second only to diamonds) and excellent toughness, rubies are indeed a very good choice for rings which are going to be worn every day.

    Why are rubies so expensive?

    Very fine rubies are scarce and one of the rarest of all colored gemstones. In top qualities, there are fewer rubies than diamonds, thus the price of a fine ruby may exceed that of a fine diamond. In addition, the per carat price for the best rubies increases quite dramatically as they increase in size.

    What is the best color for a ruby?

    Ruby Necklace
    As with most colored stones, the most significant factor affecting the price of a ruby is its color. The most prized color is a medium to medium-dark, pure red or slightly purplish red and historically referred to as “pigeon’s blood”. If the stone is considered be less than 50% red, it will be classified as a fancy color pink, orange or purple sapphire depending on the dominant hue.

    Are all rubies treated?

    Rubies are commonly heated to deepen the color and improve the clarity. The results are permanent and are accepted in the trade. Fine, unheated rubies command much higher prices and should be documented to justify the premium value. There are various other treatments being used on rubies today, many of which are not stable. As always, if you are shopping for a ruby, you will be best served by a knowledgeable, trustworthy jeweler with the highest professional credentials.

    What is the best way to clean a ruby?

    Good quality rubies can withstand ultrasonic and steam cleaning, but using warm, soapy water and a soft brush is the safest way to clean a ruby.

    Sharon S. Axelson
    Graduate Gemologist, Gemological Institute of America
    Certified Gemologist Appraiser, American Gem Society

    Browse beautiful ruby jewelry in the Jessop’s collection...

  • What Goes In To Creating A Beautiful Piece of Jewelry?

    Jessop’s Custom Jewelry Design Process

    Jessop’s has a proud tradition of helping to create special and unique custom jewelry pieces that meet the needs, wants, and desires of our clientele. Bringing the imagination to reality is always an exciting process!

    1) The steps begin with an initial consultation and collaboration of the design concept. Once everything is agreed upon, a sketch is made by our goldsmith as a working reference.

    2) Gemstones are carefully selected for size, quality and color.

    3) The framework is hand-crafted by our artisan goldsmith.

    4) Then the piece is assembled, polished and ready to become your family’s heirloom.

    What’s in your imagination?

    View a sampling of our Jessop’s custom jewelry offerings...

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